Fifty miles off the coast of Nantucket, 250 feet beneath the Atlantic, lies the RMS Republic and her secret treasure. As soon as Republic sank, rumors spread of a precious cargo, but the ship has kept her secrets intact for over a century, until now. Life-long treasure hunter Martin Bayerle joined Connie Willis (email) for all four hours to discuss how he has devoted the past 35 years of his life researching the shipwreck and proving the existence of her reputed cargo of 150,000 American Eagle gold coins, a bounty worth a billion dollars in today’s economy, and his quest to recover the it on his second attempt at the Republic.
My Granny was a famous circus member. She was a trapease performer and equestrian rider in the Castello-Loughlin troop. I was very close with her when I was young, sadly we lost contact when I was in my early adolescence. The summer I turned 19 I was contacted by the local coroner's office. They needed me to come in and give positive identification for a body. The reason? They could not find any ID except a car license plate number and there was no one else to call.
It was my Granny.
Her car had been hit by a train while she was crossing the rail road tracks. She was on her way to the hair dresser. Since there was no other family that still lived in the state I had to go down and identify her. I was horrified and very, very sad since I had not seen or spoken to her in almost 8 years. It was quite a shock. But I was even more shocked when the coroners office turned over her personal belongings to me! There was only a small cheap silver ring, one single earring and a coin. Her purse had been burned in the wreckage.
It was the coin I was startled to see! I hadn't laid eyes on it in so long! It was my Granny's good luck charm. The coin is a large English penny that was given to her when she was young by another famous magician/circus performer that she had an affair with. He was also killed tragically in a terrible accident. The first year I had the coin I carried it in my purse, it went everywhere that I did. Soon though really lucky things started to happen to me. I won a lot of radio call in contests, I always seemed to be the winner in random drawings. I was always finding money in parking lots of on bus benches. But with the good came the bad,
3 of my close relatives died within a year of my taking possession of the coin. I lost my job, my car broke down (hence the bus stops) and my husband left me for another woman. Just by chance one day I happened to decide I needed a smaller purse. I took all the belongings, including the coin out of my purse. I put the coin in my jewelry box which stays high in the top of my closet. The next day I left for work and when I got on the city bus I reached in for the fair change. What did I pull out? The coin of course. It had somehow found its way back into my purse.
Since then it has shown a little more of its true colors. It likes to "stay with me" which means that if I put it away or leave it somewhere it will find its way back into my pocket or my purse. I have literally undressed to go to bed and found the coin in the pocket of my pants when it was just in my purse!
Once when I had company over we used it (as a joke, because I told them it was lucky) to decide who would take the first turn in a game we were playing. I left it on the kitchen counter while preparing drinks for the other guests. The coin slid across the kitchen counter in front of more than 10 people. It slid almost 5 feet from the sink to the wall! Another time it jumped off of my bedroom dresser and landed on top of my bedspread right in front of my own eyes.
Lately it has discovered a new trick! It gets warm to the touch for no reason at all. I always know when it has come home (i.e. shown up in my pocket) because it will get warm so that I notice it is there. Other people have held it and felt the mysterious warmth....
Now why would my Granny want her coin to bother me? I think it is because she and I were not on good terms when she died. We had a falling out because she hid my father while he was evading his child support payments. She completely cut me out of her will. Now I did not expect anything fancy because she was in ill health and deeply in debt but as I said we are a circus family.
There are mountains of family photos and documents. She didn’t even leave me one! I think she did not want me to have anything of hers and now she is really upset that I have her good luck charm. Then again I wonder about the coin itself. She was killed tragically, so was the man who gave it to her. Maybe the coin is cursed? Now I am the owner and it makes me worry. The earring and the ring that she had with her at the time of her death have never caused me any problems or shown any signs of life. Ever.
I want to be rid of it, I think it is the cause of all the rotten things that have happened to me over the last few years.